Award Winning Photographer Meredith Washburn
There are so many things that I love about Dylan and Sophie's wedding, it's impossible to list them all. I will, however, list a few things :).
Dylan and Sophie are two of the most magical people I've ever met. They radiate around each other. I was overwhelmed with love just watching them interact together during their engagement session, but even more so on their wedding day. It was so exciting and refreshing to see two people who truly love one another so passionately that they were less focused on the day going perfectly and more focused on radiating Jesus, joy, kindness, and love. Their day was so beautifully planned with the most caring and thoughtful details. With their wedding being held at Sophie's Grandparents' farm, there were so many family memories that just overwhelmed the day with a sense of love and happiness. A day full of prayers, family, friends, hugs, happy tears, smiles, sunshine, heirlooms, farm trucks, cowboy boots, quilts, hay bales, wedding outdoors in a pasture, ice cream and cake-flavors reception, and dancing under Edison bulbs in a cattle barn (I could never list all of the greatness). Basically everything that makes me smile. I will forever be blessed by this job, but people as special as Dylan, Sophie, and their families are what will forever make this job the greatest treasure in my heart.
I always ask my clients to reflect on their wedding day and type up a little something to include with their blog. I love seeing the day through their eyes. Here is a little something from Sophie about her love with Dylan and their special outdoor wedding at her Grandparents' farm:
“Before I ever discovered love and romance, my mom would tell me, ‘If a man truly loves you, he will wait for you.’ Then, on my thirteenth birthday, Dad and Mom gave me a purity ring that had scripted on it, ‘True Love Waits.’
I lost the purity ring a couple of times in High School (including losing it at the farm where we married!), but I always prayed and I eventually found it. I also prayed for my future husband, not knowing who or where he might be. I longed to be married someday and dreamed it to be at my grandparents’ farm.
All along, he was two years ahead of me in school, played in the same orchestra, ran on the same track and field, and lived in the same subdivision three blocks away. After returning home due to a major leg break at college, he decided to stay. Then, he noticed me. He started pursuing me as I was graduating from high school, and we dated for 3 years. It felt like a long time of waiting. My mom’s words came alive, ‘True love waits.’ Dad gave permission, Dylan proposed, we planned a wedding, and we were happily married on July 15, 2016.
I would say it was an 8-month wedding celebration, for that was the length of our engagement. Mom and I spent my junior spring semester planning a wedding and sipping on coffee. Mom and I ordered The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer, and used their very helpful timeline. We truly started celebrating when school ended for summer break! We began the bridal showers, bachelorette parties, packing, and scurrying around to finalize details! This is when we also hired our wonderful wedding planner, Abby Kaufman! Whenever wedding planning began to feel overwhelming, I was reminded that 1) all the details will be so worth it and 2) waiting will be worth it.
And it was. Our prayers came true for beautiful weather as the sun rose. Long-story short, I couldn’t sleep the morning of our wedding and accidentally locked myself out of the farmhouse. As I sat outside I was gifted with the sun rising. Later that morning Grandma blessed us with a warm breakfast and my 10-year old sister and I drove Willie (our farm truck) around the pasture. It was then time for my lovely bridesmaids to arrive to start hair!
We had planned for an outdoor evening ceremony in the pasture, leaving time for photos during the beautiful sunset, with a dessert and dancing reception in the cattle barn. So many tears and emotions overwhelmed me as I had my first look with Dylan and later in the afternoon as we drove back to the pasture for the ceremony. But then, as Dad and I stood there waiting to proceed down the aisle, a perfect calm rested upon me, and it was time to get married to Dylan!
The ceremony was absolutely lovely. God was present, as He always promises. Dylan and I shared communion while my 10-year old sister sang The Great I Am, by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. We said our vows, exchanged rings, and kissed for the first time as husband and wife. XOXO
The reception was so fun as we cut the cake, danced, listened to the toasts, tossed the bouquet, tossed the garter, visited with friends and family under the lights, and left under the sparklers. In the end, we so enjoyed the wedding, and now, we forever love the marriage.”
Hotel: Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Bridesmaid Gifts: Bracelet – Nordstrom, Earrings – J. C. Penny’s
Groomsmen Gifts: Socks & Suspenders
Ceremony Venue: In a pasture at my grandparents’ farm – @ The Stephens Farm, Saybrook, Il
Ceremony Seating: Morton Rentals
Pastor: Caleb McClarren, Grace Church in Morton
Reception Venue: In my grandparents’ cattle barn – @ The Stephens Farm, Saybrook, Il
Wedding Coordination: Abby Kaufman – EnVision Events, Inc.
Bouquets, boutonnieres, greens, and other floral: Splendor of Eden – Brie Pflederer
Wedding dress: BHLDN Bridal Shop
Headpiece/veil: BHLDN Bridal Shop
Bride’s Shoes (cowboy boots): Branded Country Wear
Bridesmaid dresses: Sophie chose to do a color scheme and different styles for her bridesmaids’ dresses. She chose swatches from David’s Bridal, Peoria, Il, gave them to her bridesmaids and had them pick their style. One of my bridesmaids was 10 years old and another was pregnant, so she wanted to have a variety of styles and brands so everyone felt comfortable: Nordstrom, Francesca’s, Impressions Online Boutique, Von Maur, Asos, Sundance, and a boutique in Colorado.
Flower girl: H&M kids
Ring Bearer: J. Crew
Hair: Lisa Cook – Family Friend
Ice Cream Catering: Carl’s Ice Cream
Cake: Designer Cake Shop – Linda Veatch
Light equipment: Globe String Lights from Target
DJ: Troy Tarter
Engagement Ring: Groom’s grandmother’s engagement diamond
Wedding Rings: Helzberg Diamonds
Videography: Focal Point Media – Trevor Maloch
Decorations: Chalkboards, quilts, and lanterns from friends
Cocktail tables: Morton Rentals
Hay bales: Friend who bales hay at the Stephens Farm
White Linen Table Cloths: Hobby Lobby
Garter toss: So Chic Boutique, Morton, Il
Photographing Chad and Brittany's wedding was so much fun. I traveled from St. Louis to Elgin, Illinois where the two were married at the cutest wedding venue, the Haight. Brittany's little sister is one of my best friends, so it was extra special getting to see Brittany all dressed up as a bride and share in such a memorable day with her and her family. I seriously don't think I saw her smile leave her face the entire day, it was so sweet. Brittany lights up anytime Chad is around...he is the perfect match for her. I actually met Chad for the first time on the day of the wedding. His family and friends were so kind and helpful the entire day, and I heard so many wonderful things said about Chad; a testament to the person that he is and that his parents raised him to be. I'm so glad Brittany found someone so special that lights up her world. Thanks for having me as your photographer, Chad and Brittany <3! What a wonderful day.
Hotel: Courtyard Marriot
Wedding/Reception Venue: The Haight, Elgin, il
Officiant: Lesley Feyerherm
Wedding Coordination: Briana Bialk, The Haight
Bouquets, boutonnieres and other florals: Town and Country Gardens
Wedding dress(es): David's bridal
Headpiece/veil: David's bridal
Bride's Shoes: Amazon
Bridesmaid dresses: David's bridal
Hair: Courtney Taylor-Wilson
Tuxedos/Suits: GQ Formalwear
Catering: Chef's By Request
Cookies: Honey Bear Baking
DJ: Brian Towne Sound and Light Creations
Wedding Ring: K Hollis Jewler, Batavia, il
Being a photographer sure brings a lot of beautiful people into your life. Mike and Allison are two of those people. They have tremendously kind souls and seem to just be made for one another. Photographing their love was easy and comfortable (I mean, just look at their smiles and the way they look at each other). As a photographer, it is such an honor and privilege to be invited to spend the day with the bride and groom and their friends and family. To see and capture all the behind the scenes moments and nuances makes my heart full. The natural laughs and giggles, smiles, tears, hugs, whispers, glances, hand squeezing, etc. is so special to capture and freeze in time forever. This specific wedding was especially full of love, fun, and joy.
Soon after their wedding I was informed that Mike's father had passed away. It broke my heart when I learned of the news. As I was going through their images it made me so happy to see so many photos of Mike's dad smiling, laughing, dancing, and just enjoying life. What an amazing day he was able to experience with his son and family before passing. I absolutely love that moments captured in photos will be beautiful reminders of the happiness and love shared during Mike and Allison's wedding day. This job truly makes my heart smile; I feel blessed by each couple who chooses and trusts me with the honor to capture their treasured moments.
Read below about Mike + Allison's recap of their day:
"Mike and I could not have been more excited for our wedding day (as hopefully most couple are!). While we love living in St. Louis, our family and friends are spread throughout the country, so this was the perfect opportunity to have everyone we love in one place at one time. From Seattle to Miami, New York, San Diego, and even a cousin from Beirut, Lebanon our wedding list spanned the world so we are never in the same place at the same time. As the RSVP's came rolling in, we knew we were blessed that everyone would be making the trip to help us celebrate.
Family is so important to us and I was lucky to have received several extra special pieces to wear on my wedding day to help remind me of them. The diamond in my engagement ring had belonged to Mike's great-grandmother and had made it's way to the United States from Cuba years before. Even more special is that it came from a pair of earrings and the other diamond is worn by my wonderful sister-in-law in her own engagement ring. Additionally, my something borrowed was a beautiful cameo ring given to my grandmother and then my mom on their own wedding day. With a tradition that began 77 years before, I couldn't wait to wear it (I may have also slipped it on my finger for the rehearsal just to get a feel for it!). Finally, my mom made my wedding veil, hopefully starting a new tradition in the family.
The actually day of the wedding could not have been more perfect. Of course the day began a little earlier for me then for Mike, with hair and makeup and breakfast with my mom, my bridesmaids, my sister and future sisters-in- law, but I think we both enjoyed the time with our closest family and friends. The morning was much calmer than I had anticipated and much of the time was spent relaxing, sharing stories, primping and drinking champagne. I had no nerves and was just ready to marry my best friend! With the hustle and bustle of the days leading up to the wedding Mike and I had spent very little time together and all I could think about was seeing him at the end of the aisle in only a few short hours. Since we opted out of doing a "first look" I couldn't wait for the moment when we caught each others eye as I walked arm in arm down the aisle with my dad (I was also slightly excited that our church had a very long aisle, so I could take my time).
While most of the wedding planning goes into the details of the reception, I have to admit that the ceremony was my favorite party. It was a time during the day that Mike and I had (almost) all to ourselves and a time where we could truly express our love and lifetime devotion to each other, while also being able to take a deep breathe and take in what was happening! Exchanging the rings and being announced as husband and wife are moments that I will truly never forget.
After the ceremony, the day flew by and our reception went by in a flash, just like everyone tells you. It was filled with lots of dancing, funny and heartfelt speeches by our family members and of course a lot of catching up with family and friends. Our goal was to have a party and I think that we succeeded. By the end of the night I successfully had blisters on my feet and the bottom of my dress was more black than white from dancing for hours. I could not have imagined a more perfect day (Although I would be willing to throw an anniversary party with everyone year after year to compete for a more fun day!).
Our wedding will always live in our hearts as one of the best days of our lives. However, that special day took on an even more meaning when we arrived back from our honeymoon. Unfortunately, Mike's dad passed away very unexpectedly a little over a week from the big day. Now, even more than before, we treasure the pictures, memories and video of that day when everyone was together celebrating, dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves. That day reminded us that we are lucky enough to have the most amazing people in our lives and to treasure each moment that we have together.
CHECK OUT MIKE AND ALLISON'S AMAZING VENDORS:
- Hotel: The Westin St. Louis
- Bridesmaid Gifts: Pajamas- Plum Pretty Sugar
- Necklaces and Earrings- Prep Obsessed
- State Glitter Glasses- Esty
- Groomsmen Gifts: Bags
- Ceremony venue: St. Luke The Evangelist Catholic Church
- Priest:Fr. Ralph Siefert, Chaminade College Preparatory School
- Reception venue: The Promenade by Westin
- Wedding Coordination: Megan Powell- The Westin
- Bouquets, boutonnieres and other florals: Sisters Floral Design Studio
- Wedding dress(es): Augusta Jones, The Ultimate Bride
- Headpiece/veil: Mother of the bride
- Bride's Shoes: Antonio Melani
- Bride's Shoes: Jack Rodgers
- Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung
- Hair and Make-up: Annie Heyward
- Tuxedos/Suits: Jos. A. Banks
- Invitations and programs
- Catering: The Promenade by The Westin
- Cake: The Cakery Bakery
- Sound and light equipment: CJ's Disc Jockey Service
- DJ: CJ's Disc Jockey Service
- Rings: Atlanta Diamond Design
- Videography: Lifetime Media
- Photo Booth: Mr. Pickles Photo Booth Rental
- Transportation: Riding in Style